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Choral Workshop 2016
Puccini: Messa di Gloria

Saturday 23 January 2016
9.30am–5.00pm
St Michael’s Without, Broad Street, Bath

Bath Bach Choir brings together Puccini and prosecco in an intoxicating partnership which will warm up a cold day in Bath with the heat of an Italian fiesta. Trained as a church musician, Puccini wrote his Messa di Gloria whilst still young. Although a sacred piece, it betrays an instinct for the theatrical: it is full of great, dramatic tunes, wears its Italian heart on its sleeve and was a natural precursor to the passionate operas –  La Boheme, Tosca, Madame Butterfly – that came later. Messa  di Gloria is music to put a smile on your face, and our director Nigel Perrin promises you will go home feeling like an opera singer – helped along by a glass of prosecco and Italian-style snacks served up throughout the day. Viva la musica!

Rachmaninov
Vespers & Preludes

Saturday 5 March 2016
7.30pm  |  Exeter Cathedral

Saturday 19 March 2016
7.30pm  |  Bath Abbey

Bath Bach Choir is joined by Exeter Festival Chorus for a dramatic, a cappella performance of Rachmaninov’s Vespers, sung by 150 voices. In an innovative piece of programming, the movements will be interpolated with Rachmaninov Preludes and  Etudes, performed by the internationally-renowned concert pianist Peter Donohoe.

Rachmaninov’s Vespers is immediately accessible because he uses traditional, recognisable orthodox chants, elaborating on them in each movement with different vocal textures and colouring. It is a work of symphonic dimensions, but – without an orchestra – all the colour and layering come from the voices, with the upper voices used to represent the heavenly host, and the lower voices humanity. In musical director Nigel Perrin’s vision for staging the piece, different spaces and corners of Bath Abbey will also play an important role in creating the atmosphere and resonance required by the score. The evening promises to be an outstanding and memorable experience.

Peter Donohoe piano
Nina Alupii-Morton mezzo soprano
Rupert Drury tenor (Exeter performance)
Kieran White tenor (Bath performance)
Peter Adcock assistant conductor

J S Bach
Mass in B Minor

Saturday 18 June 2016
7.30pm  |  Bath Abbey

The highlight of summer 2016 – for us and, we hope, for many people in Bath – will be our performance of J S Bach’s iconic B  minor Mass. This is the piece for which Bath Bach Choir was  formed in 1946, and many would consider it the Holy Grail of all choral works. Bach presented his famous Mass to the Elector of Saxony as a portfolio of pieces, hoping it would secure him a post at court. It unquestionably demonstrates his genius and an immense range of styles, from grand chorales to elegant dances, from fiendish fugues to intricate counterpoint. It’s the ultimate challenge and ambition for all choirs, with its scintillating and rhythmically compelling quaver passages and harmonic structures which send shivers down your spine and bring such intensity to movements such as the ‘Crucifixus’. We have engaged four star soloists who have recently given stunning performances with us; but if you have not yet heard Margaret Faultless’s brilliant orchestra, Music for Awhile, playing on authentic baroque instruments, this concert in Bath Abbey will be worth attending for that experience alone.

Music for Awhile, Margaret Faultless leader
Mhairi Lawson soprano
Rupert Enticknap counter-tenor
Nathan Vale tenor
Matthew Brook bass
Marcus Sealy organ continuo

Venetian Vespers

Saturday 29 October 2016
7.30pm  |  The Chapel of Our Lady of the Snows, Prior Park College, Bath

Most people know of Claudio Monteverdi’s seminal Vespers of 1610, written for the great ducal basilica of San Marco; but tonight, in a variation of this, we shall feature music by a number of composers who were living and working in and around Venice  at Monteverdi’s time – all of whom were influenced by Monteverdi’s seconda pratica and developing baroque style. The librarian and musicologist Clifford Bartlett has trawled many dusty part-books and early scores held in libraries throughout the world to assemble and arrange this re-creation of a Vespers service that might have been held in San Marco in  the mid 17th century. Some of this music will be familiar to you – the Nisi Dominus from Monteverdi’s Vespers, and perhaps the Magnificat by Rigatti. But for most members of tonight’s audience at least some of this music will be a new experience, helping us to open that door just a bit wider onto the sounds of  17th-century Venice. For, perhaps more than any other place, Venice was the birthplace of the baroque, and Monteverdi and his compatriots were its midwives. This music is the grandparent of Handel and J S Bach, and we owe it so much for  that fact alone.

Peter Leech guest conductor

Carols by Candlelight

14, 15 and 16 December 2016
7.30pm  |  The Pump Room, Bath

Three opportunities to hear the popular Carols by Candlelight – the true start of Christmas in Bath. Come and hear the choir perform a mix of Christmas music old and new, carols from a Bath primary school and a virtuoso performance by a Wells Cathedral School student. As ever, conductor Nigel Perrin acts as master of ceremonies: setting the scene, training the audience and raising laughs with his seasonal banter.